Outrage Culture Is Pretty Ridiculous
We ended up down a weird rabbit hole last week talking about outrage culture in the SoBros Network Slack group. So, I’ll go ahead and apologize for this – though we often call ourselves a ‘blog,’ a lot of what we write here doesn’t have a ‘blog’ feel to it. We do a lot of analysis, reviews, comedy, stuff like that. But, very rarely do we stand on our soapbox and preach our own personal values and serious opinions.
But, that’s exactly what I’m going to do today.
I’m going to write a bloggy blog. No, it’s not going to be about my day. It’s not going to be some preachy, uplifting post. Hopefully, you won’t be rolling your eyes, thinking, “why does this person think they’re so important?” Wait – am I the only judgmental asshole that reads a blog and thinks that? Anyway….
I just want to share an opportunity for all of us to #BeBetter.
Because outrage culture as a whole has gotten ridiculous. With the giant echo chamber that is social media, it was inevitable. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone thinks their opinion is the most valuable one on the internet. Think differently? YOU’RE FIRED! For the most part, I’ve been able to tune it out. But, recently, we’ve noticed people taking advantage of that sentiment, one that’s spiraled out of control.
Some people are idiots that really don’t have anything better to do, but I think there’s a strong contingency of people out there who know damn well what they’re doing. In addition to the people who capitalize on this phenomenon with clickbait articles, there are some who use outrage culture as a means to bring people down. For what? Who knows?
What I’m referencing is the recent practice of digging up old tweets. It happened to James Gunn, the brain behind Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, and it’s happened to several MLB players. Now, I’m certainly not going to defend the content of these tweets.
I don’t condone any sort of homophobic, racist, or sexist talk. But, I will say, I’m not going to be that type to say “people shouldn’t get offended” or blame an “overly PC culture” either, because for the most part, I do think we should be a little more cognizant of others. We should be more accepting and tolerant of people different than us, and we should condemn those who seek to hold others down for such simplistic reasons.
But, have we lost sight of the fact that things change? Is it not possible for society to evolve with the times?
In the case of some of these MLB players, they dug up tweets from high school. When I was in high school from 2001-04, kids called each other ‘faggots’ and ‘retards’ all the time, and no one batted an eye. It wasn’t until my senior year that I could remember people really standing up and saying that it was wrong to use such derogatory terms.
But, it wasn’t because there was a culture of homophobia or hate at Wilson Central High School in the early 2000s. It was because we watched movies like There’s Something About Mary and listened to Eminem. Shit, that situation with Elton John and Eminem changed things. It was the first time I can remember thinking, “damn – this really hurts some people. This isn’t cool.”
My point being that nobody knew any better. Should the dude who told “Nature Boy” Brandon Vick and me to “quit being faggots” in 2002 be fired in 2018? Where do we draw the line with this sort of malicious outrage culture?
Actually, yes – fuck that guy. I wish I had punched him in his face.
But, I digress.
The kids I went to high school with, my friends, have grown up to become well adjusted adults, and I can’t tell you the last time I’ve heard those hateful terms. Society has evolved and they’ve evolved with it. But, let’s assume social media was what it is today back then, and let’s assume one of my classmates wanted to run for President one day….you could absolutely dig up some dirt. And, that’s the real shame of it all.
I don’t know James Gunn or any of these guys. But, just knowing that this could potentially happen to someone I do know is frustrating. I know good people who said or did stupid things 10 years ago. All it would take to stain their reputation is for someone to have access to these shortcomings. That’s how it goes.
You don’t like someone? You dig up something from years ago, and let the social media outrage do its job. It’s malicious and it’s irresponsible. People aren’t willing to do due diligence to try and figure things out, and they react emotionally to headlines without a lot of information. I don’t understand it.
Now, the exception is, of course, if an actual crime comes to light. People absolutely should be held accountable for their actions. If people actually found Gunn to be a pedophile, then yes….can his ass and throw him in prison to die and all that. But, you find some distasteful jokes (that weren’t funny to begin with) from a time when Gunn admitted he was trying to say things that would shock and horrify people? That doesn’t count.
But, for the most part, outrage culture doesn’t really seem to have much of a purpose at all. Does it make the world a better place? Does it help us define our core values as a society any further? Who is it helping?
This is like people still taking digs at Germany for World War II. It makes me incredibly pessimistic about people in general. It makes me think that we’re going nowhere, and trying to bridge the divide in our country today is futile.
People don’t seem like they’re genuinely interested in making the world a better place, and that’s that. I’ll stop ranting now.
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the WWE, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley